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102 men and 40 women have been arrested for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in an operation conducted between Jan 13 and Jan 15.
During the three-day operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the seven police land divisions conducted raids at multiple locations across the island and arrested the 142 suspects, aged between 17 and 69.
Preliminary investigations revealed that one suspect had assisted loansharks in their business by subscribing to a handphone line.
30 suspects are believed to be runners who carried out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers on behalf of loansharks.
The remaining 111 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.
Investigations against all suspects are ongoing.
Under the Moneylenders’ Act (Revised Edition 2010), when a person's bank account or ATM card is used to facilitate moneylending by an unlicensed moneylender, that person is presumed to have assisted in the business of unlicensed moneylending.
If convicted of assisting in the business of unlicensed moneylanding, first-time offenders may face a fine between $30,000 and $300,000, a jail term of up to four years and up to six strokes of the cane.
Members of the public are advised to stay away from loansharks and not to work with or assist them in any way.
The public can call the police at ‘999’ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in illegal loansharking activities.